dinner for picky & adventurous eaters alike?
I'll be visiting New York from Boston in a few weeks, and am meeting a few friends for dinner on a Saturday night. There will be 4 of us - 1 is an extremely picky eater, the rest of us are fairly adventurous. The picky eater will do American, Italian, or Mexican, and I could maybe convince her to go for not-too-exotic Asian or other Latin American fare.
I'm looking for something basically between Houston and 30th streets; either side of town is fine. Our friends live in Gramercy, and we'll be going to a bar in the West Village later that evening.
Any ideas? Something affordable-ish would be great - I guess entrees in the $20s or so.
As someone who hasn't lived in New York in years, the options are pretty overwhelming. Thanks for any guidance!
Cacio e Vino (2nd Ave, btw 4th/5th St) fits all your criteria...reasonably priced Sicilian...some Sicilian specialties w/ fennel and fruit and nuts and seafood for the more Chowish eaters; plenty of simple pastas for the less adventurous...it's also a cute place -- woodsy, small, nice staff...
If you can score a rez at Babbo, it's very solid for the adventurous/not-so-much combination. Those of you game for it can get head cheese, tripe, lamb tongues, octopus, brains, etc. Those not-so-adventurous... lots of pasta and traditional entree items. Apps are in the teens, pastas tend to be in the mid-20s, entrees are mostly around $29 with a few higher or lower. And it's in the Village, so right where you want to be.
Also in that area is Empellon Taqueria - creative Mexican, great cocktails. Their East Village location (Empellon Cocina) has a more interesting menu, though.
Chinese would be another good option. Most of the better Cantonese restaurants serve dishes family-style, but at a place like Fuleen you could get a bunch of straightforward (but very good) dishes, and perhaps add something more esoteric for the rest of you - they're famous for their geoduck, though that particular dish is a bit of a splurge. But there are also dishes, with, say, "1,000 year" eggs and the like that might appeal.
Jehangir Mehta's two places - Graffiti and Mehtaphor - have very creative food, and nothing's over $20 at either of them. I prefer the former over the latter, but they're both good.
Wylie Dufresne's new place Alder could be fun - it's adventurous in presentation but working with familiar flavors (i.e. a pastrami sandwich reimagined as rye pasta with pastrami crumbs, clam chowder with "oyster crackers" made from actual oysters, stuff like that...) - prices are reasonable but they're kind of in the "small plates" style so they can add up. But it's a fun place to graze the menu and try a lot of different things. Same can be said for Pearl & Ash, young talented chef (who used to work for Dufresne, IIRC) doing fun small plates.
Speaking of small plates, I'd say another good option might be Toro - but, y'know, if you're coming from Boston, no point in that...
Lots of good suggestions here. I'll add another.
Trestle on Tenth. The chef/owner is Swiss and that's reflected in a lot of the dishes. That said, there's plenty of things on the menu for a picky eater.
NY Mag blurb -